Author’s note: Comrades, this piece was originally written as a response to an online group of ‘Marxists-Leninists’ and Maoists. Please excuse some parts that are difficult to understand as there may be missing context at times. However, I’ve tried my best to edit the original response so as to turn it into a response to the uneducated, idiotic economists that claim to be Marxists… to the wolves in pseudo-revolutionary clothing. I hope that this can serve as an article to send to someone who isn’t familiar with Proriv nor the classics, but argues with the confidence of a bull. If you’re someone who this article has been sent to, I apologize if not all of your arguments have been answered or if some of the critiques I’ve written do not apply.
I’ve heard that there’s been discussion of the Prorivists in a negative light. I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify the positions of Proriv, scientific centralism, and its foundation in the classics of Marxism. I’d also like to go over some of the tension my positions have caused. Please read this document to the very end as I try to discuss every issue that’s been brought up against Proriv as well as what I see as problematic positions that are common amongst modern communists. I take an antagonistic and harsh tone, it’s because that is exactly what’s deserved. Let’s remember the days when Iskra was criticized because it was the only publication that, god forsake it, swore!
When Comrade R. Turner and I engaged in debate about Lysenko as well as scientific centralism, all we received were the same points made over and over again (quite literally copied and pasted at times) which we had to reply to over and over again. Then, we were accused of not having answered points made. I see no instance where this happened other than when I got frustrated after repeating myself many times and decided to move on. Not only this, but it seems people took pride in having said absolutely nothing new. Many other critics have come before making the same arguments, and many more will come in the coming months and years. Seeing the way Proriv as well as people like Lysenko have been criticized by people who have, by their own self-admission, not read much of their writings, deserve the utmost harshness and ridicule. As people who have supposedly refuted Proriv’s positions (including scientific centralism), is it not your responsibility to develop an understanding of the enemy before critiquing? Is that not the Marxist thing to do? So, you all who firmly believe that Proriv is wrong, off to reading!
Firstly, what is Proriv? Proriv, which means “Breakthrough” in Russian, is an organization which is composed of a socio-political magazine and a newspaper with its editorial office in Russia with a readership hovering around 1000000 (meaning that the newspaper’s website has reached one million views — editor’s note). The main theoretical and organizational head of the organization is Valery Alekseevich Podguzov who was a technical worker in the USSR, a professor, former member of the CPSU and RKRP, a Soviet officer, and most importantly a student of Marxism. He consistently stood against Khrushchevite revisionism in the USSR, defended the legacy of Comrades Lenin and Stalin, defended communist historiography, and has written for decades. Proriv’s defining theoretical contribution is scientific centralism, a method of party organization that was developed based on the experience of the CPSU as well as the works of the classics of Marxism. On all other issues, for the most part, it offers nothing new other than providing Marxist analysis of recent developments.
To briefly give context as to what scientific centralism is, I’ll link this article. It is, of course, a short summary and not an exhaustive explanation but it should give a general idea as to what it is. The main question that it attempts to answer is the issue of incompetent leadership. We can all agree on the treachery of Khrushchev and Andropov during their General-Secretaryships, but why did they get there to begin with? What is the role of leadership in the construction of communism?
I’d like to briefly comment on the most stupid slander and general silliness. For example, I remember someone said that all we are is a Discord server. Admittedly, a few comrades and I have created a Discord server (not even officially affiliated with Proriv) as a way to communicate, but that isn’t “all that Proriv is” and despite what a particular person claimed, I did not “admit it himself [myself]” at any time. Proriv is more than just a discord server! Proriv also has Facebook, VK, and Telegram communities (& dzen — editor’s note)! I remember when one of you refused to read an article from Proriv I sent because, despite being no more than 10 pages of text, it was too long for him to read (poor soul!). The worst issue, though, is that on another occasion, you all claimed to critique Leninist organization based on its ‘overly-oligarchic structure’, which is ridiculous. Who are we, people who haven’t read a single ounce of theory relative to Lenin, people who have created nothing lasting, to critique the leader of the Bolsheviks and the 3rd classic of Marxism on theoretical grounds? Humility is in order. That should end some of my personal irks and none of this is meant to be personally insulting. With all of the unimportant and minor issues aside, the fact that Proriv is a publication is what makes it valuable. As Engels pointed out, the theoretical struggle is an essential part of the class struggle right alongside the economic and political struggles. The fact that Proriv is not a party at this point in time does not denigrate its importance one bit (as the saying goes, the pen is mightier than even the sword). We need to find a way to begin to wage revolution; people are suffering every day… no time to sit around! The main way to reach the degree of consciousness required is through raising the level of diamatical knowledge so that even the layman, at the least, shows sympathies.
Before moving on, I want to show that calling Proriv elitist in its theory is tantamount to calling Marxism elitist. Let’s not forget the bourgeois-intellectual womb from which Marxism was birthed. I’d like to quote Lenin’s words in in What is to be Done:
“Secondly, in the very first literary expression of Economism we observe the exceedingly curious phenomenon — highly characteristic for an understanding of all the differences prevailing among presentday Social Democrats — that the adherents of the “labour movement pure and simple”, worshippers of the closest “organic” contacts (Rabocheye Dyelo’s term) with the proletarian struggle, opponents of any non-worker intelligentsia (even a socialist intelligentsia), are compelled, in order to defend their positions, to resort to the arguments of the bourgeois “pure trade-unionists”. This shows that from the very outset Rabochaya Mysl began — unconsciously — to implement the programme of the Credo. This shows (something Rabocheye Dyelo cannot grasp) that all worship of the spontaneity of the working class movement, all belittling of the role of “the conscious element”, of the role of Social-Democracy, means, quite independently of whether he who belittles that role desires it or not, a strengthening of the influence of bourgeois ideology upon the workers. All those who talk about “overrating the importance of ideology”, about exaggerating the role of the conscious element, etc., imagine that the labour movement pure and simple can elaborate, and will elaborate, an independent ideology for itself, if only the workers “wrest their fate from the hands of the leaders”. But this is a profound mistake. To supplement what has been said above, we shall quote the following profoundly true and important words of Karl. Kautsky on the new draft programme of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party:”
Moving on, let’s discuss the structure of a scientific centralist party. A party with the organizational principle of scientific centralism would be organized top-down; from the theoretical body (Iskra served as the theoretical center of the RSDLP) down to the rank-and-file. For someone to become a part of the leadership, they would need to demonstrate their competency in dialectical materialism. Why? Well, is it not the foundation of Marxism? Would not someone who has shown to be a good dialectician be a good Marxist? Let’s remember what the goal of the formation fo a dialectical materialist worldview is! It’s to be able to reflect the objective world in your mind through the process of thought in an accurate, holistic manner and, in-line with the laws of objective development, change the objective world. Every theoretical flaw of a communist can be boiled down to either a failure to understand diamatics, or a lack of information to understand a specific situation (for example, the dialectical category of chance and necessity includes the subjective element “chance” because we can’t know all of necessity without filling with knowledge (refer to “Dialectics of Nature”)). Therefore, someone with a good grasp of dialectics who is a steeled party member dedicated to the construction of communism would be able to lead competently.
Let’s briefly deal with how someone becomes a steeled party member: Imagine yourself a supporter of the Bolsheviks in the USSR. You’re a regular worker who has begun to work in your factory’s union. After reading the most recent publication of Iskra, you are swayed to join the fight in the realm of social-democratic politics instead of restricting yourself to the “pure-and-simple” labor movement. At first, you don’t know what to do and you may be arrested for your work because of a lack of experience and a lack of good comrades around you. However, as you work, as you become trained in the art of revolution by the communists, you learn to recognize opportunism and treachery from both ‘comrades’ and the secret police. Seeing the progress the communists make as well as the affection of the masses, you have the utmost confidence in the revolutionary cause and undying dedication to serve the masses. Not just this, but you have the immortal and invincible philosophy of dialectical materialism to guide you and illuminate the path you need to take. To quote the Soviet geologist Vladimir Obruchev’s message to young students at Lomonosov Moscow State University: «and most importantly — study Marxist philosophy, because it will give you a compass, allow you to take the right direction, no matter what field of science you work in.»
You may say, “but comrade Elliot, this is idealism! You can’t rely on the goodness of someone’s heart!” Comrade, of course you can’t be much more than a person with sympathies for communism just through good intentions. However, being so trigger-happy and calling this idealist is a sign of an insufficient understanding of consciousness. In the Leninist conception, the conscious mind is a reflection of objective, material reality. Consciousness itself is the highest form of matter which has negated the lower form and therefore the development of a communist conscience is a reflection of communist activities. Why do you think communists’ propagandizing and shouting the crimes of capital is so important? The world is reflected in the mind and that is a most powerful tool.
I apologize for the long quotation, but I will once again refer to Lenin:
“ It was only by stubbornly and relentlessly combating all demagogic elements within the socialist movement that German socialism has managed to grow and become as strong as it is. Our wiseacres, however, at a time when Russian Social-Democracy is passing through a crisis entirely due to the lack of sufficiently trained, developed, and experienced leaders to guide the spontaneously awakening masses, cry out ,with the profundity of fools: “It is a bad business when the movement does not proceed from the rank and file.” “A committee of students is of no use; it is not stable.” Quite true. But the conclusion to be drawn from this is that we must have a committee of professional revolutionaries, and it is immaterial whether a student or a worker is capable of becoming a professional revolutionary. The conclusion you draw, how. ever, is that the working-class movement must not be pushed on from outside! In your political innocence you fail to notice that you are playing into the hands of our Economists and fostering our amateurism. Wherein, may I ask, did our students “push on” our workers? In the sense that the student brought to the worker the fragments of political knowledge he himself possesses, the crumbs of socialist ideas he has managed to acquire (for the principal intellectual diet of the present-day student, legal Marxism, could furnish only the rudiments, only scraps of knowledge). There has never been too much of such “pushing on from outside”; on the contrary, there has so far been all too little of it in our movement, for we have been stewing too assiduously in our own juice… We professional revolutionaries must and will make it our business to engage in this kind of “pushing on” a hundred times more forcibly than we have done hitherto. But the very fact that you select so hideous a phrase as “pushing on from outside” — a phrase which cannot but rouse in the workers (at least in the workers who are as unenlightened as you yourselves) a sense of distrust towards all who bring them political knowledge and revolutionary experience from outside, which cannot but rouse in them an instinctive desire to resist all such people — proves you to be demagogues, and demagogues are the worst enemies of the working class And, please — don’t hasten howling about my “uncomradely methods” of debating. I have not the least desire to doubt the purity of your intentions. As I have said, one may become a demagogue out of sheer political innocence. But I have shown that you have descended to demagogy, and I will never tire of repeating that demagogues are the worst enemies of the working class. The worst enemies, because they arouse base instincts in the masses, because the unenlightened worker is unable to recognise his enemies in men who represent themselves, and sometimes sincerely so, as his friends. The worst enemies, because in the period of disunity and vacillation, when our movement is just beginning to take shape, nothing is easier than to employ demagogic methods to mislead the masses, who can realise their error only later by bitter experience. That is why the slogan of the day for the Russian Social-Democrat must be — resolute struggle against Svoboda and Rabocheye Dyelo, both of which have sunk to the level of demagogy. We shall deal with this further in greater detail… Let no active worker take offence at these frank remarks, for as far as insufficient training is concerned, I apply them first and foremost to myself. I used to work in a study circle that set itself very broad, all-embracing tasks; and all of us, members of that circle, suffered painfully and acutely from the realisation that we were acting as amateurs at a moment in history when we might have been able to say, varying a well-known statement: “Give us an organisation of revolutionaries, and we will overturn Russia” The more I recall the burning sense of shame I then experienced, the bitterer become my feelings towards those pseudo-Social-Democrats whose preachings “bring disgrace on the calling of a revolutionary”, who fail to understand that our task is not to champion the degrading of the revolutionary to the level of an amateur, but to raise the amateurs to the level of revolutionaries.”
Herein lies the essence of why good leadership is so important.
Many have called us “technocratic elitists” who desire to be “philosopher kings” within our “cabal of dialecticians” because we, to put it simply, overvalue the subjective factor. But, I don’t need to make fun of this silly claim because I’m too busy laughing to speak. Instead, I’ll let Lenin ridicule for us:
“We have said that our movement, much more extensive and deep than the movement of the seventies, must be inspired with the same devoted determination and energy that inspired the movement at that time. Indeed, no one, we think, has until now doubted that the strength of the present-day movement lies in the awakening of the masses (principally, the industrial proletariat) and that its weakness lies in the lack of consciousness and initiative among the revolutionary leaders. However, of late a staggering discovery has been made, which threatens to disestablish all hitherto prevailing views on this question. This discovery was made by Rabocheye Dyelo, which in its polemic with Iskra and Zarya did not confine itself to making objections on separate points, but tried to ascribe “general disagreements” to a more profound cause — to the “different appraisals of the relative importance of the spontaneous and consciously ‘methodical’ element”. Rabocheye Dyelo formulated its indictment as a “belittling of the significance of the objective or the spontaneous element of development”. To this we say: Had the polemics with Iskra and Zarya resulted in nothing more than causing Rabocheye Dyelo to hit upon these “general disagreements”, that alone would give us considerable satisfaction, so significant is this thesis and so clear is the light it sheds on the quintessence of the present-day theoretical and political differences that exist among Russian Social-Democrats. For this reason the question of the relation between consciousness and spontaneity is of such enormous general interest, and for this reason the question must be dealt with in great detail.”
You’ve unknowingly sunk yourself to the depths of the Economists and Economists-Terrorists that Lenin, Stalin, Plekhanov, etc. battled over a century ago. The extreme undervaluing of the subjective factor amongst communist revolutionaries is something Lenin spent decades fighting. I hope the problematic nature of your position is apparent to you now but, I want to fully explain and so I will move on.
To debunk your claim that the party shouldn’t close its ranks, I once again quote Lenin:
“A further objection may be raised, that the views on organisation here expounded contradict the “democratic principle”. Now, while the earlier accusation was specifically Russian in origin, this one is specifically foreign in character. And only an organisation abroad (the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad) was capable of giving its Editorial Board instructions like the following:“Organisational Principle. In order to secure the successful development and unification of Social-Democracy, the broad democratic principle of Party organisation must be emphasised, developed, and fought for; this is particularly necessary in view of the anti-democratic tendencies that have revealed themselves in the ranks of our Party” (Two Conferences, p. 18). We shall see in the next chapter how Rabocheye Dyelo combats Iskra’s “anti-democratic tendencies”. For the present, we shall examine more closely the “principle” that the Economists advance. Everyone will probably agree that “the broad democratic principle” presupposes the two following conditions: first, full publicity, and secondly, election to all offices. It would be absurd to speak of democracy without publicity, moreover, without a publicity that is not limited to the membership of the organisation. We call the German Socialist Party a democratic organisation because all its activities are carried out publicly; even its party congresses are held in public. But no one would call an organisation democratic that is hidden from every one but its members by a veil of secrecy. What is the use, then, of advancing “the broad democratic principle” when the fundamental condition for this principle cannot be fulfilled by a secret organisation? “The broad principle” proves itself simply to be a resounding but hollow phrase. Moreover, it reveals a total lack of understanding of the urgent tasks of the moment in regard to organisation. Everyone knows how great the lack of secrecy is among the “broad” masses of our revolutionaries. We have heard the bitter complaints of B-v on this score and his absolutely just demand for a “strict selection of members” (Rabocheye Dyelo, No. 6, p. 42). Yet, persons who boast a keen “sense of realities” urge, in a situation like this, not the strictest secrecy and the strictest (consequently, more restricted) selection, of members, but “the broad democratic principle”! This is what you call being wide of the mark. Nor is the situation any better with regard to the second attribute of democracy, the principle of election. In politically free countries, this condition is taken for granted. “They are members of the Party who accept the principles of the Party programme and render the Party all possible support,” reads Clause 1 of the Rules of the German Social-Democratic Party. Since the entire political arena is as open to the public view as is a theatre stage to the audience, this acceptance or non-acceptance, support or opposition, is known to all from the press and from public meetings. Everyone knows that a certain political figure began in such and such a way, passed through such and such an evolution, behaved in a trying moment in such and such a manner, and possesses such and such qualities; consequently, all party members, knowing all the facts, can elect or refuse to elect this person to a particular party office. The general control (in the literal sense of the term) exercised over every act of a party man in the political field brings into existence an automatically operating mechanism which produces what in biology is called the “survival of the fittest”. “Natural selection” by full publicity, election, and general control provides the assurance that, in the last analysis, every political figure will be “in his proper place”, do the work for which lie is best fitted by his powers and abilities, feel the effects of his mistakes on himself, and prove before all the world his ability to recognise mistakes and to avoid them. Try to fit this picture into the frame of our autocracy! Is it conceivable in Russia for all who accept the principles of the Party programme and render the Party all possible support to control every action of the revolutionary working in secret? Is it possible for all to elect one of these revolutionaries to any particular office, when, in the very interests of the work, the revolutionary must conceal his identity from nine out of ten of these “all”? Reflect somewhat over the real meaning of the high-sounding phrases to which Rabocheye Dyelo gives utterance, and you will realise that “broad democracy” in Party organisation, amidst the gloom of the autocracy and the domination of gendarmerie, is nothing more than a useless and harmful toy. It is a useless toy because, in point of fact, no revolutionary organisation has ever practiced, or could practice, broad democracy, however much it may have desired to do so. It is a harmful toy because any attempt to practise “the broad democratic principle” will simply facilitate the work of the police in carrying out large-scale raids, will perpetuate the prevailing primitiveness, and will divert the thoughts of the practical workers from the serious and pressing task of training themselves to become professional revolutionaries to that of drawing up detailed “paper” rules for election systems. Only abroad, where very often people with no opportunity for conducting really active work gather, could this “playing at democracy” develop here and there, especially in small groups”.
Before I quote another passage from Lenin, you may say that Lenin approves of democratic party-organizational principles because of the example he gives when talking about politically-free Germany. However, remember that the Germans grew fat and lazy leading to the eventual death of their leadership. Their openness allowed the dozen or so leaders of the KPD to be killed or captured leading to the downwards-spiral of the world’s largest and most powerful communist party. When did this occur with the secretive Bolshevik party? Never! Did the Bolsheviks have any less contact with the masses? No! This has been settled; let’s continue:
“We ask the reader, in what way does the “Areopagus” differ from “anti-democratic tendencies”? And is it not evident that Rabocheye Dyelo’s “plausible” organisational principle is equally naive and indecent; naive, because no one would pay heed to the “Areopagus”, or people with “anti- democratic tendencies”, if “the comrades surrounding them had” no “confidence in their wisdom, energy, and loyalty”; indecent, because it is a demagogic sally calculated to play on the conceit of some, on the ignorance of others regarding the actual state of our movement, and on the lack of training and the ignorance of the history of the revolutionary movement on the part of still others. The only serious organisational principle for the active workers of our movement should be the strictest secrecy, the strictest selection of members, and the training of professional revolutionaries. Given these qualities, something even more than “democratism” would be guaranteed to us, namely, complete, comradely, mutual confidence among revolutionaries. This is absolutely essential for us, because there can be no question of replacing it by general democratic control in Russia. It would be a great mistake to believe that the impossibility of establishing real “democratic” control renders the members of the revolutionary organisation beyond control altogether. They have not the time to think about toy forms of democratism (democratism within a close and compact body of comrades in which complete, mutual confidence prevails), but they have a lively sense of their responsibility, knowing as they do from experience that an organisation of real revolutionaries will stop at nothing to rid itself of an unworthy member. Moreover, there is a fairly well-developed public opinion in Russian (and international) revolutionary circles which has a long history behind it, and which sternly and ruthlessly punishes every departure from the duties of comradeship (and “democratism”, real and not toy democratism, certainly forms a component part of the conception of comradeship). Take all this into consideration and you will realise that this talk and these resolutions about “anti-democratic tendencies” have the musty odour of the playing at generals which is indulged in abroad.”
“The more secret such an organisation is, the stronger and more widespread will be the confidence in the Party. As we know, in time of war,* it is not only of the utmost importance to imbue one’s own army with confidence in its strength, but it is important also to convince the enemy and all neutral elements of this strength; friendly neutrality may sometimes decide the issue. If such an organisation existed, one built up on a firm theoretical foundation and possessing a Social-Democratic organ, we should have no reason to fear that the movement might be diverted from its path by the numerous “outside” elements that are attracted to it. (On the contrary, it is precisely at the present time, with amateurism prevalent, that we see many Social-Democrats leaning towards the Credo and only imagining that they are Social Democrats.) In a word, specialisation necessarily presupposes centralisation, and in turn imperatively calls for it.”
*: our war doesn’t end until the full victory of communism
A final analogy should make the matter fully, truly understood. As the title of a famous Chinese revolutionary song says, sailing the seas depends on the helmsman. If you allow a regular crewmate to steer, you’ll end up stranded without some ridiculous stroke of luck (and can you really trust that luck will get you back to land?). Only the most skilled should be allowed to man the ship. By training the other crewmates and making every person capable of steering the ship, if the captain dies, it’s no problem. Say, if you have the crewmates decide, without knowledge of how to use the ship’s equipment or how to do the calculations to find the direction you need to head, you’ll be stranded. So long as the whole ship isn’t capable of steering the ship, only the ones able to should be allowed to.
Let the rank-and-file execute the tasks set by the leaders but someone who has not developed the qualities needed to be a leader, no matter how good their intentions are, must not lead! Brezhnev was better relative to Khrushchev, but his theoretical incompetence meant he couldn’t reverse the damage of de-Stalinization and Chernenko was similarly better than Andropov, but he couldn’t prevent Gorbachev. This is all due to the degradation of the party and the failure of leadership. The tragedy lies in that the people believed they were valiantly marching to communism. Blame the people or blame the leadership. Lenin’s position on the subjective factor’s importance is beyond clear. Comrades, you have a choice: accept this position founded in the practice of the leader of that wisest of parties which built the greatest expression of the proletarian cause, or the position of someone who takes the same position as the economists without even knowing so. For me, the choice was clear and still is clear. What about you?
An important thing that was brought up above is that the workers believed they were marching to communism. The suffering masses are already there, dear comrade. The objective conditions already exist! What remains is the subjective factor: namely, party-building. What party do we want? A party of steel! An invincible party of the proletariat! On the topic of steel, what does the Man of Steel, Joseph Stalin have to say about the importance of closing off leadership and the subjective factor? He says this:
“Our Party is a Social-Democratic Party. This means that it has its own programme (the immediate and the ultimate aims of the movement), its own tactics (methods of struggle), and its own organisational principle (form of association). Unity of programmatic, tactical and organisational views is the basis on which our Party is built. Only the unity of these views can unite the Party members in one centralised party. If unity of views collapses, the Party collapses. Consequently, only one who fully accepts the Party’s programme, tactics and organisational principle can be called a Party member. Only one who has adequately studied and has fully accepted our Party’s programmatic, tactical and organisational views can be in the ranks of our Party and, thereby, in the ranks of the leaders of the proletarian army.
But is it enough for a Party member merely to accept the Party’s programme, tactics and organisational views? Can a person like that be regarded as a true leader of the proletarian army? Of course not! In the first place, everybody knows that there are plenty of windbags in the world who would readily «accept» the Party’s programme, tactics and organisational views, but who are incapable of being anything else than windbags. It would be a desecration of the Party’s Holy of Holies to call a windbag like that a Party member (i.e., a leader of the proletarian army)! Moreover, our Party is not a school of philosophy or a religious sect. Is not our Party a fighting party? Since it is, is it not self-evident that our Party will not be satisfied with a platonic acceptance of its programme, tactics and organisational views, that it will undoubtedly demand that its members should apply the views they have accepted? Hence, whoever wants to be a member of our Party cannot rest content with merely accepting our Party’s programmatic, tactical and organisational views, but must set about applying these views, putting them into effect.
But what does applying the Party’s views mean for a Party member? When can he apply these views? Only when he is fighting, when he is marching with the whole Party at the head of the proletarian army. Can the struggle be waged by solitary, scattered individuals? Certainly not! On the contrary, people first unite, first they organise, and only then do they go into battle. If that is not done, all struggle is fruitless. Clearly, then, the Party members, too, will be able to fight and, consequently, apply the Party’s views, only if they unite in a compact organisation. It is also clear that the more compact the organisation in which the Party members unite, the better will they be able to fight, and, consequently, the more fully will they apply the Party’s programme, tactics and organisational views. It is not for nothing that our Party is called an organisation of leaders and not a conglomeration of individuals. And, if our Party is an organisation of leaders, it is obvious that only those can be regarded as members of this Party, of this organisation, who work in this organisation and, therefore, deem it their duty to merge their wishes with the wishes of the Party and to act in unison with the Party.
Hence, to be a Party member one must apply the Party’s programme, tactics and organisational views; to apply the Party’s views one must fight for them; and to fight for these views one must work in a Party organisation, work in unison with the Party. Clearly, to be a Party member one must belong to one of the Party organisations. 2 Only when we join one of the Party organisations and thus merge our personal interests with the Party’s interests can we become Party members, and, consequently, real leaders of the proletarian army.
If our Party is not a conglomeration of individual windbags, but an organisation of leaders which, through its Central Committee, is worthily leading the proletarian army forward, then all that has been said above is self-evident.
Up till now our Party has resembled a hospitable patriarchal family, ready to take in all who sympathise. But now that our Party has become a centralised organisation, it has thrown off its patriarchal aspect and has become in all respects like a fortress, the gates of which are opened only to those who are worthy. And that is of great importance to us. At a time when the autocracy is trying to corrupt the class consciousness of the proletariat with «trade unionism,» nationalism, clericalism and the like, and when, on the other hand, the liberal intelligentsia is persistently striving to kill the political independence of the proletariat and to impose its tutelage upon it—at such a time we must be extremely vigilant and never forget that our Party is a fortress, the gates of which are opened only to those who have been tested.”
It should be incredibly clear by now that leadership is incredibly important to advance communism. It isn’t a lack of belief in the power of the masses to make history, but a reaffirming of the truth that so long as the capitalists and their ideas haven’t been fully exhumed, the guiding role must remain in the hands of the most advanced segment of the proletariat.
Shortly touching on a slightly confusing point for many, democracy in the usage of Marxists isn’t to be understood slavishly in the bourgeois sense, but rather as a freeing up and forwards-advancement of society. When we speak of democratization, we don’t speak of having wide elections from a population which is not ideologically ready, but ensuring that the people have, as the Bolshevik slogan goes: Peace, Land, Bread. That is why Comrade Stalin, in the same breath, can speak of a “Social-Democratic Party” and still oppose a democratic principle of organization. The construction of communism requires an ideological struggle. Until the ideological struggle is complete, the most backward segment of the masses will prevent the further development of the class struggle. Don’t read the classics in such a vulgar way because, while it’s important to read each piece of theory and understand it at face-value, full understanding only comes when understanding it in the context of the whole of communist theory.
Moving on, some comrades have touched on the fact that there aren’t many Prorivists or supporters of Proriv. Firstly, that is wrong. As I mentioned, readership is near than 1000000 and quickly growing (By the audience of the newspaper we mean the number of views, which grows by 6,000 per month. The approximate real audience of the newspaper is 5,000 people — editor’s note). Secondly, the newness or oldness of an idea doesn’t show its correctness, but how in-line it is with dialectical materialism. Thirdly, we must grow not extensively but intensively, and prioritize the quality of cadre and not the quantity.
The third point is most important. I believe those who think we need to grow in numbers are forgetting the mess that was the mass-recruitment campaign for the CPSU after Lenin’s death led primarily by none other than Leon Trotsky and opposed by none other than Joseph Stalin. To provide even more evidence, I once again call Comrade Lenin to the stand:
““A dozen wise men can be more easily wiped out than a hundred fools.” This wonderful truth (for which the hundred fools will always applaud you) appears obvious only because in the very midst of the argument you have skipped from one question to another. You began by talking and continued to talk of the unearthing of a “committee”, of the unearthing of an “organisation”, and now you skip to the question of unearthing the movement’s “roots” in their “depths”. The fact is, of course, that our movement cannot be unearthed, for the very reason that it has countless thousands of roots deep down among the masses; but that is not the point at issue. As far as “deep roots” are concerned, we cannot be “unearthed” even now, despite all our amateurism, and yet we all complain, and cannot but complain, that the “organisations” are being unearthed and as a result it is impossible to maintain continuity in the movement. But since you raise the question of organisations being unearthed and persist in your opinion, I assert that it is far more difficult to unearth a dozen wise men than a hundred fools. This position I will defend, no matter how much you instigate the masses against me for my “anti-democratic” views, etc. As I have stated repeatedly, by “wise men”, in connection with organisation, I mean professional revolutionaries, irrespective of whether they have developed from among students or working men. I assert: (1) that no revolutionary movement can endure without a stable organisation of leaders maintaining continuity; (2) that the broader the popular mass drawn spontaneously into the struggle, which forms the basis of the movement and participates in it, the more urgent the need for such an organisation, and the more solid this organisation must be (for it is much easier for all sorts of demagogues to side-track the more backward sections of the masses); (3) that such an organisation must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity; (4) that in an autocratic state, the more we confine the membership of such an organisation to people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity and who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult will it be to unearth the organisation; and (5) the greater will be the number of people from the working class and from the other social classes who will be able to join the movement and perform active work in it.”
Everything should be understood. A party can only be formed when a movement is ready and enough work has been done. To recklessly “party up” here and there and to act without thought does harm to the cause of communism and turns a communist into a terrorist. We will measure our success, not in the number of square acres we hold like the Maoists do, but in the effective construction of a communist party which has been hardened through struggle and led by Marxism. If you want to whine and cry about the lack of ‘vitality’ of our movement, remember that people need to learn that crawling comes before walking, walking before running, and running before revolutionizing.
So far, we’ve covered the importance of consciousness for the development of our ranks, addressed the accusations of elitism, dismissed the accusation of overvaluing the subjective factor, presented the role of leadership and shown that, altogether, the insults hurled at us are false and worthy of the highest of mockery.
Only now, after pages and pages, can we continue onto explaining the position of Prorivists in any meaningful way. The basis of scientific centralism as a principle is founded in the experience of the USSR. It’s well and good for me to say this, but I need to put my ass to where I promised to put it. Sadly, I won’t do this in full because there is an article which already has explained the foundation of scientific centralism. The important thing to note here is that democracy in the USSR was a deterrent to progress. Only after Lenin and Stalin were able to convince enough of the backwards ignoramuses that called themselves Bolsheviks was progress able to be made. At every turn, democracy was a rubber stamp.
Let’s explore the idea of voting (in the context of, say, the Supreme Soviet). Democracy, when you are dealing with leaders who know what they are doing, serves to only stamp approval and it will be a unanimous vote. Why? Because dialectical materialism provides truth; the truth is always specific, not vague and there is only one correct path, not a single more. The diversity of votes in the USSR therefore shows the incompetence of leadership. You may object: “but even Lenin can be wrong!” Of course he can, but the issue isn’t making sure that every step is correct but minimizing the number of missteps and reducing those who would force a socialist motherland or fatherland to take those missteps. This can only be done by putting genuine communists with the theoretical muscle and genuine will at the head and excluding anyone who dares threaten the proletariat’s aims. Democracy widens the basis of blame and therefore one will become uncaring and lazy. How many times did the Supreme Soviet make a supremely stupid decision? Too many to count. If each leader worked with other leaders to craft a scientific path, then each person takes a great deal of responsibility. Instead of basing the victory of one path over another on the statesmanship of a party member (as is the case in the bourgeois parliaments), victory is based on the immortal and invincible science of Marxism. A correct application of dialectical materialism, taking into account the fluidity and uniqueness of each situation, allows one to be unerring.
Does this mean there will be no opposition or difficulty? Of course not. But it provides the most expedient path and incredible freedom. As the great Hegel said: “freedom is recognition of necessity.” Mastery of dialectical materialism is precisely what allows men like Lenin to be immortal in the memory of the proletariat while men like Khrushchev will have their graves pissed and spat on. Dialectical materialism does not make you a god who knows everything about everything, but rather someone who knows something about everything (matter is inherent to motion; motion is inherent to matter; nothing is not in motion; dialectical materialism discovered the general laws of motion). Diamatics is the compass that will guide us safely to our destination but is the compass alone enough? No. We need to know the terrain, weather, etc. of each region (the specifics of each case we study). Through its proper application, humanity can advance past the narrowness of bad philosophy that dominates both the masses and our ‘communists’ today.
Making sure that these people who know what they are doing are in power is an essential part of communist construction. But the important question arises: “what do we do once the old revolutionists die?” Without proper preparation, we’d see a slow devolution until we arrive back in the arms of and as slaves of our capitalist friends. Lenin and Stalin never were able to produce men like themselves. This was both due to the chaos of their situation but also the issue of opportunists being able to make important decisions in the party from the beginning due to the CPSU’s democratic centralist principle of organizing. Molotov was a good man, but he was no Stalin.
Once the captain of the ship died in the USSR, opportunists quickly took hold. After Stalin’s death, Khrushchev began his lies and de-Stalinization policy. This is a huge flaw. Scientific centralism addresses this by adopting Lenin’s position that good leadership and healthy development of the movement will lead to more professional revolutionists arising from the masses. Good leadership educates the masses, sees further, sets tasks for the workers, and does not forget to bring up most backwards strata of the masses. By doing this, and by making sure important decisions aren’t able to be made by opportunists, the communist party can generate good communists. Not only that, but the conscious revolutionizing of education by providing education in philosophy as Comrade Stalin began near the end of his life. A good party with good leaders will train new replacements. The quality of leadership will therefore rise and if one person dies, another will arise. The party stops relying on the individual genius of a far-seeing and wise leader and becomes an undefeatable hydra.
This is a short and inadequate explanation, but I’d like to move on because this is already quite lengthy.
Religion is undeniably idealist and reactionary. Lenin writes:
“but a slave who has become conscious of his slavery and has risen to struggle for his emancipation has already half ceased to be a slave. The modern class-conscious worker, reared by large-scale factory industry and enlightened by urban life, contemptuously casts aside religious prejudices, leaves heaven to the priests and bourgeois bigots, and tries to win a better life for himself here on earth. The proletariat of today takes the side of socialism, which enlists science in the battle against the fog of religion, and frees the workers from their belief in life after death by welding them together to fight in the present for a better life on earth.”
To posit that dialectical materialism can exist alongside religion in someone’s mind is a ridiculous proposition. There is no materialist idealism. However, building communism doesn’t mean smashing everything reactionary all at once. Lenin writes:
“We demand that religion be held a private affair so far as the state is concerned. But by no means can we consider religion a private affair so far as our Party is concerned.”
Someone who will lead the proletariat can not and must not have their mind be clouded by a religious fog. I understand that this might not be what you want to hear, but the truth of this situation doesn’t bend nor change. Someone who masters dialectical materialism inevitably recognizes that religion is not only incorrect and idealist, but reactionary. Competent leadership will not be religious. We will be open in that communism is atheistic and only regards dialectical materialism as the method of the communist party. Accept this or don’t, but my advice would be to seek the truth without being scared of leaving behind religion. I understand. I used to be religious and it was very difficult for me to leave it all behind me, but it was necessary. Freedom is recognition of necessity.
Many comrades have told me that “the DPRK removed all mentions of Marxism from its constitution” which is a terrible misunderstanding. The USSR’s 1936 constitution did not mention communism nor Marxism a single time. What a laughable standard for whether a party is proletarian in content to begin with. This article covers, in depth, the failings and merits of Juche as a philosophy. Juche is riddled with mistakes, but it has enough of a scientific center to have taken the DPRK to establishing socialist relations and marching it onwards to the higher stage. The nationalism of the DPRK is also an issue (I’ll discuss why nationalism is inherently reactionary), but doesn’t fully stand in the way of the development of Korea.
As a Korean who can read, write, and speak the language, I soundly reject the accusation made by the so-called ‘communists’ that Kim Il-Sung was a traitor. Which marshal fought alongside his troops for years against the Japanese occupiers from Mount Paektu? It was Marshal Kim-Il-Sung. Which marshal fought to reunite Korea and establish the whole peninsula as a united socialist fatherland free from the US puppet state set up in the south? It was Marshal Kim Il-Sung. Kim Il-Sung was a great man who lived by the motto of “serve the working masses and let flowers bloom even on a flower’s rock if it is what the people desire.” Read Comrade Kim Il-Sung’s works; the positives and negatives of Juche will become apparent. It’s shameful for a so-called communist who has done nothing to construct communism to speak of him in such an arrogant manner. All of communist theory and practice was developed and done without you and you were not needed for its development. Our predecessors have lifted us upon their mighty shoulders and you’ve decided to spit on them instead of learning from them. Shame!
This is all good fun, but the main country to discuss and the main center of discussion which looms over us when focusing on socialism today is China.
Let’s tackle this issue as briefly as possible.
“The PRC has a capitalist class.” Indeed, it does. This in itself does not mean much as the PRC has always had a capitalist class throughout its whole history. This is very typical of a country in the process of advancing to socialism so we can let this point rest.
The PRC is a nation with a market system as is the case in every other capitalist country. However, the important question isn’t the presence of the market, but the location of power. Which class holds dominance in the CPC? What class controls the state-machinery? It’s the proletariat. You may rebuke by shouting about the crimes of capital in China, but what country with a market doesn’t have these? Even Lenin’s USSR was marked by the continuation of market injustices. Let’s not forget the many councilists, anarchists, etc. who argued that the USSR too was not marching towards communism, but just a kinder-faced capitalism. The NEP period is one that’s meant to allow capitalism to flourish in a box. A fish in an aquarium can’t reach the river.
To quote A. Shishin:
“In any market society, i.e. in any country whose economic system is based on private property and commodity production, whatever the state declares a formal commitment to the whole people, no matter how it claims the separation of powers and its independence, no matter what beautiful constitutions it adopts, it always remains class.
What does it mean? This means that absolutely all state and management measures in any case serve either the class of entrepreneurs, that is, owners of means of production, or the class of employees. When society is divided into these two opposite social groups, no matter what is done at the level of state power, improvement for one group always causes deterioration for another, and vice versa. Thus, the state, whatever it is national, democratic, civilized, legal, always serves some class.
In this regard, it is necessary to know that in the People’s Republic of China, unlike most other market countries, the state serves the working class, that is, people who by their work create all the material and most spiritual social wealth. The entrepreneurial class in China earns exactly as much as the state power of the working class allows it.”
The points Comrade Shishin brought up rely on the correctness of the final paragraph. We see that the CPC consistently whips the class of capitalists whenever they fall out of line and have been doing so for many decades. Absolutely no “bourgeois party” would do this and I prompt you all to look for a party which does this. Neither the Democrats or Republicans, Tories or Labour do this. The only circumstances in which the capitalist nations do this is out of absolute necessity to control the anarchy of capitalist production or due to advances in labor’s trade-union struggle (in essence, state quelling is a natural function of capitalist production because both the capitalist state’s actions and unions are natural features of capitalist production). There is no such thing in the PRC and it becomes apparent that Comrade Shishin is correct.
I quote Comrade A. Shishin once more:
“The fact is that the domination of entrepreneurs is characterized by the fact that, firstly, huge public resources are mutually destroyed in the course of competition, secondly, the surcharge product of production is spent not in accordance with the objective requirements for expanding reproduction, but at the subjective desire of capitalists, thirdly, workers turn into an appendage to the process of profit production, which is expressed in the fact that they do not have the opportunity to improve their financial situation, do not have prospects for intellectual and professional growth, do not have motivation for productive work.
In China, it is the state power, relying on science, that has a regulatory impact on the capitalist sector in various ways to compensate for the negative impact of capital on workers and production. And most importantly, state power in China is parallel developing the socialist sector, where wage labor in the strict sense of the word is no longer used, where there is no competition and other spontaneous processes. There, employees work not for the owner, but for the whole society and according to a scientifically developed plan.”
But, if this is still not enough, I present to you Comrade R. Ogienko’s article On the Question of the Nature of Power in China.
One last note on China. Since we are talking about scientific centralism, let’s bring back the topic of democratic centralism as a source of opportunism in the context of these countries as well as the survival of the modern socialist nations for just a moment by listening to what Comrade A. Redin has to say:
“The most important reason for the collapse of the CPSU is that after Stalin in the USSR, not a single general secretary took the helm of the party on the basis of his obvious merits in the development of communist theory and the recognition of these merits, primarily by the party masses. Moreover, each subsequent general secretary was lower than the previous one in terms of the level of his scientific and theoretical training, and Gorbachev generally has to be recognized as an outright ignoramus and scoundrel. The relatively higher stability of the CPC, the WPK, and the Cuban Communist Party lies precisely in the fact that they were led by individuals with significant scientific background and experience in theoretical victories over the opportunists in the national parties. Even Deng Xiaoping led the CPC for some time as a recognized NEP theorist, which cannot be said about Khrushchev, Andropov, and even more so about Gorbachev.
The fact of the matter is that, according to the principle of democratic centralism, the leaders are those for whom the majority voted, and not those who are objectively capable of leading correctly. There is no more dubious idea that the choice of the majority correctly reflects the requirements for staffing. Once again, I draw your attention to the fact that in the Communist Party there should be no competition and competitiveness, since it consists of like-minded people. If there is no scientific unanimity, the organization has no moral right to be called communist. And if there is scientific unanimity, then competitiveness is excluded. Careerism and communism are incompatible phenomena. It is necessary to initially build an organization of people who have suppressed the desire to «climb up». Those who love power, however capable they may be in private affairs, must be expelled from the party without delay.”
Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba (particularly the former 2) are to be treated similarly to China in their difficult global standings. Cuba is perhaps the most shaky seeing Díaz-Canel’s relative incompetence, but at this point in time, the state is still controlled by the workers.
On the question of Cuba, I remember many people saying that Comandante Fidel Castro betrayed Che Guevara. It comes from a Cuban journalist named Alberto Müller who wrote an entire book about it. As is the case when dealing with a Cuban that couldn’t have a name that could be so typically gusano-esque as Alberto Müller, it only made sense to look into their history. Funnily enough, what we have here is a gusano traitor. If you don’t want to take my word for it, take his own:
«Alberto Müller was born in Havana, Cuba, on May 23, 1939. He studies at Columbus School (first education); Havana Institute (incomm); Bethlehem and Piarists of Guanabacoa (second education); Law at the University of Havana; Bachelor of Arts at St. Thomas University, Miami, Master in International Relations at FIU. Miami.
In February 1960, he organized a student demonstration repudiating the visit to Cuba of Anastas Mikoyán, the Soviet leader who led the massacre of the Hungarian people in 1956.
He creates in Miami, together with other students, the Student Revolutionary Directory, an organization that is a tradition in Cuba to fight dictatorships and its Secretary General is nominated, so he immediately returns to the Island to fight in hiding in November 1960. He organized an uprising of students and peasants in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra and was taken prisoner in April 1961.
On his first night as a prisoner he is subjected to a Shooting Simulation; on two occasions he suffered the torture of the Excrement Trench; during the Forced Labor Plan on Isla de Pinos, he is injured twice with two bayonets and is beaten dozens of times on his back with bayonets. The isolated time in punishment cells adds up to more than two years.
Read these memories of a different man, tireless in his human work and with a tenderly vigilant look, who sleeps little, writes with solidarity depth, is fascinated by poetry and reveals himself with poor children, beggars and the blind. He has dedicated his life, almost entirely, to Cuba.»
Another claim is that Che gave a personal testimonial! Oh, that would surely prove Müller right. However, the claim that Che felt betrayed by Fidel comes from his Bolivian executioner Jaime Niño de Guzman (a paid lackey of the American scum) who also attempts to make Che out to be a coward. It would be beneficial to the narrative of the US to make Che out to be the bumbling but brutal coward and Fidel to be the evil dictator who didn’t think twice about murdering his own friend. Why are you all repeating imperialist lies? An honest assessment of Castro would show him to be a Marxist and a revolutionary who, just like Kim Il-Sung, had theoretical flaws (which bled into the party’s own program). This is still, by no means, grounds for calling him a traitor.
This isn’t the end of strange claims, however. There are people who defend “some nationalism but not all nationalism.” Why is this strange? Because it seems that people have forgotten Stalin’s article Marxism and the National Question wherein he strongly condemns drawing national lines and entering into nation-based struggles instead of a united society-wide push for socialism. Firstly, what is a nation? Stalin defines a nation as “a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” What’s so wrong with this? Because national struggles distract from the class struggle and place the enemy, whether directly or indirectly, whether to a slight or significant degree, on a group other than the bourgeoisie. So comrades, what makes, to take an example, black nationalism so particularly different from the Bundist movement and why should we support it? While the struggle of some nationality may be relatively progressive, unless it is elevated to the level of the struggle for communism, it ultimately is reactionary. Indeed, any movement that does not place its interests as secondary to those of the greater proletariat is a movement that strengthens the bourgeoisie both ideologically and materially. Keep in mind that any “special interest group” within the proletariat is similarly reactionary whether the lines are drawn based on sex, sexuality, religion, racial makeup, etc..
Don’t kid yourselves, comrades. All nationalism is reactionary nationalism whether it stems from the Germans or the Jews in Germany, Blacks or Anglos in America, and even from a progressive nation like the DPRK. The difference is not one of quality, but a quantitative difference in the level of reaction.
The next matter at hand is Soviet biologist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko. Once again, another comrade has already explained the situation better than I ever could. Therefore, I see no reason not to just ask you to read that piece. Please read Comrade D. Donskoy’s In Defense of Lysenko before coming back to continue this article.
That should be enough. If it isn’t and you still believe Lysenko to be a mad pseudoscientist, then I suggest reading one of the following articles or his own works on the Marxists Internet Archive. Many of the articles are in Russian so please use a translator.
(A short list of pieces defending our dear Trofim)
While we need to leave behind our friend Trofim, we will stay on the topic of proletarian science. In particular, I will tackle Einsteinian relativity, which is based on the subjective idealist philosophy of Machism.
I hope that we all agree on the three most major points: all idealism is reactionary, Machism bourgeois ideology which today at best serves as a deterrent to scientific progress and at worst as a roadblock, and that science with a dialectical materialist guiding philosophy, one guided by the truth and general laws of motion, would outperform all the research institutes of the bourgeoisie a hundred times over.
In addition to those, I hope we agree that: correctness of a theory should be determined by how in-line it is with dialectical materialism and not how new or old it is. The same bourgeoisie which was progressive in relation to the feudal lords is now reactionary in relation to the proletariat (and therefore that the proletariat finds its revolutionary-progressive character in its relation to the bourgeoisie).
Proriv recognizes that oftentimes natural science finds itself as the front of the ideological war between the bourgeoisie and proletariat; specifically, the field of physics has made a mess of itself beginning with those like Mach and being catalyzed by Einstein’s relativity. Because of this, Western ether physicists, Soviet physicists, and the writers of Proriv have provided a plethora of information picking apart the absurdly idealist Einsteinian theory of relativity. My job will be to simply provide them.
But first, remember this quote from Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism and never forget what he thought about Einstein’s great teacher:
“But this is all sheer obscurantism, out-and-out reaction. To regard atoms, molecules, electrons, etc., as an approximately true reflection in our mind of the objectively real movement of matter is equivalent to believing in an elephant upon which the world rests! No wonder that this obscurantist, decked in the cap and bells of fashionable positivism, was greeted by the immanentists with open arms. There is not a single immanentist who would not furiously attack the “metaphysics” of science, the “materialism” of the scientists, precisely because of the recognition by the scientists of the objective reality of matter (and its particles), time, space, laws of nature, etc., etc. Long before the new discoveries in physics which gave rise to “physical idealism” were made, Leclair, using Mach as a support, combated “The Predominant Materialist Trend (Grundzug) of Modern Science” (the title of § 6 of Der Realismus usw., 1879), Schubert-Soldern fought “The Metaphysics of Natural Science” (the title of Chapter II of Grundlagen einer Erkenntnistheorie, 1884) Rehmke battled with natural-scientific “materialism,” that “metaphysics of the street” (Philosophie und Kantianismus, 1882, S. 17), etc., etc.
And the immanentists quite legitimately drew direct and outspoken fideist conclusions from this Machian idea of the “metaphysical character” of natural-scientific materialism. If natural science in its theories depicts not objective reality, but only metaphors, symbols, forms of human experience etc., it is beyond dispute that humanity is entitled to create for itself in another sphere no less “real concepts,” such as God, and so forth.
The philosophy of the scientist Mach is to science what the kiss of the Christian Judas was to Christ. Mach likewise betrays science into the hands of fideism by virtually deserting to the camp of philosophical idealism. Mach’s renunciation of natural-scientific materialism is a reactionary phenomenon in every respect. We saw this quite clearly when we spoke of the struggle of the “physical idealists” against the majority of scientists, who continue to maintain the standpoint of the old philosophy. We shall see it still more clearly if we compare the eminent scientist, Ernst Haeckel, with the eminent (among the reactionary philistines) philosopher, Ernst Mach.”
I will first suggest some essential readings on the topic. Before that, though, I’d like to express my thoughts. When those who unwaveringly stand by dialectical materialism are told that we’re pseudo-scientists for hanging onto the “old theory of ether as a medium” we will respond with “think not in terms of a timeline, but in terms of class, ideology, and Marxism” every time. Just because a new theory claims to be correct (and based on the Michelson-Morley experiment which only disproved Lorenz’s theory of stationary ether), then is accepted by the wider bourgeois scientific community does not show anything but the demagoguery of the bourgeois and the ignorance of the communist who unquestioningly accepts their nonsensical, idealist, anti-scientific ramblings.
Many repeats of the Michelson-Morley (Shtyrkov and Galaev to name two) as well as the famous Dayton-Miller experiment which sent Einsteinian relativity to the grave (where it should’ve stayed), have again shown the existence of ether . It isn’t the data gathered that is the issue, but the methodology and interpretation. There is no “more advanced empiricism” as you all would claim because the overthrow of the feudal lords actually led to the degradation, not the advancement, of empiricism’s viability.
Even if empiricism were somehow refined to be as good as possible, the most sober empiricism eventually, and by necessity, leads back to a metaphysical and idealist conception involving plenty of mystifying (the same sort that Engels mocked in Anti-Dühring). When we’re told that the classics of Marxism (Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin) have no place to discuss physics or any field of natural science at all because it “isn’t their field,” we will respond with “the classics, who not only had a masterful grasp of Marxism, but had a great depth and breadth of knowledge in a variety of fields because dialectics is useless without being filled by human practice… therefore, it is indeed their place” every time. Why is it that the classics managed to find ether theory to be fully compatible with dialectical materialism? Why did Lenin oppose the Machists (who Einstein would draw the greatest inspiration from)? Why did Soviet science stand on the side of ether theory? Comrades, you have a choice before you: choose dialectical materialism (which claims to be a monistic philosophy), or choose the internally inconsistent and pseudoscientific bullshit theory of Einsteinian relativity.
“Marxism, as the highest form of materialism, has as the object of its study and transformation not only economics, in the broadest sense of the word, including the everyday sense of the word, but also physics, too, in the broadest and general sense of the word. And a Marxist should not be embarrassed by the protests of some physicists and their incompetent flock. A Marxist is obliged to test physical theories for their conformity with dialectical materialism. And let each scientist go his own way. But only the one who can not only formulate the law, but also show — as a result of what logical operations he managed to bring his consciousness into line with the objective state of things, will convince society that he is right.”
The great Soviet physicist Prof. A.K. Timiryazev’s comments on Lenin in his Lenin and Modern Natural Science should be enough to show that we shouldn’t dismiss Lenin’s knowledge in the field of physics.
“From these few examples, we see that in matters of natural science, Lenin, completely disregarding those who only talk about science, no matter what authorities they used, was immediately directed to the very production of science, listened carefully to the voices of its great creators and drew from them what they are really strong in, while discarding a significant scale of philosophical conclusions, sometimes with white threads sewn to valuable scientific works… The person who writes these lines involuntarily remembers one case from his university life that took place two years ago. After lectures on theoretical physics, I constantly have to answer students’ questions, and often these questions are of a philosophical nature. And two years ago, when I was in a hurry, I hastily invited the students who asked me to read Chapter V «Materialism and Empirio-criticism», «There,» I said, «you will find the answer to the question you just asked me.» A few days later, I met one of those students on the street, and the first phrase I heard from him was the following: «I read… what an amazing head Lenin has, because he, not being a physicist, understands physics as you and I understand it!» [The student was non-partisan]. Isn’t there a deep meaning of Leninism hidden in these words, which involuntarily escaped from a student?
Let’s not forget that Lenin was forced to study natural science by the desperate revolutionary struggle, the struggle against the currents that decayed our party; therefore, here in this area Lenin is as revolutionary as everywhere and always. What is needed for a successful fight in this area, as in any other? It was necessary to study what is, it was necessary to be able to distinguish the real successes of science, which always benefit the revolution, from the crackling and hype to which the whole so-called «educated society» listened to. Isn’t this an example, albeit in an area far from direct struggle, that amazing ability to take into account the real situation on a few facts — the ability to distinguish among striking, but ultimately insignificant, facts barely noticeable glimpses of those powerful forces that are decisive in the great revolutionary struggle?”
No more time for dilly-dallying. Here are the articles I promised. Please use Google Translate (I’ve found it to be the most convenient and accurate) and excuse any strange translational errors made.
The archive of Soviet physicist Arkady Klimentievich Timiryazev’s articles
Dr. James DeMeo on the Dayton-Miller experiment
R. Ogienko’s On the Partisanship of Sciences
M. Luchin’s Does Matter Enter Into Relations with Space and Time?
A. Redin’s On the Importance of Methodology for Physicists
A. Redin’s On the Diamatical Understanding of Matter, Space, and Time
A. Redin’s Are Space and Time Objective?
V.A Podguzov’s Relativity of Einstein’s Theory
V.A. Podguzov’s Letter About Space in Marxist Philosophy
V.A. Podguzov’s Criticism of the Philosophical Views of Modern Physics
V.A. Podguzov’s To the Question of Some Methodological Problems of Modern Physics
Lastly, I’d like to address a particular someone specifically. I’d like to touch on one of your favorite topics: cybernetics.
The basis of cybernetics is philosophical idealism. On the issue of cybernetics, we need to first touch on production. You fail to grasp that the basis of human society, the quite literal human nature in the Marxist understanding, is that entering into relations with others to fulfill our needs determines what social relations will arise. Humans create tools to produce more efficiently, no? And is not technology one of those tools? What hammer can beat in a nail without the hand to hold it? What sickle can cut wheat without the hand to hold it? Even with the automation of ‘lower tasks’ which are behind us such as these with the advent of, for example, farming equipment, there are spheres of production which cannot be automated such as writing (the best a computer can do is compiling the information available, not advancing). The best that automation can do is master our current productive and distributive capabilities. In addition, as Marxists, we know that production and distribution are inseparably linked; every advance in production leads to an advance in distribution to match pace. Communist production is a continuous development, the condition for all further human progress; so, humanity continues to progress within communism.
Imagine we have a cycle of production that produces new discoveries that can improve the cycle after — the second cycle cannot be automated from the first cycle because that would require prior knowledge of the output of that cycle. Conscious action is required. If we were to develop a conscious machine, then we’d just have spent our efforts to birth a new ‘species’ which is defined by its inorganic nature. The best it could do is work with us to produce as comrades in arms. Cybernetics, however, doesn’t create a conscious machine to begin with, so we can leave this behind.
Let’s imagine an economy that is based on cybernetic principles reaches its highest form: makes a machine that automatically satisfies human needs. That’d violate the way communist relations are wherein labor is our prime want (that prime desire for labor is what allows humans to progress). It’ll poison us and keep us from labor productivity and turn us into dopamine fiends as is the case under capitalism (drug use, prostitution, pornography, alcohol) to distract us from forwards-advancement.
In essence, unless we want to find a way to halt the motion of human society, cybernetics is not at all feasible as a method of planning. Its advocates not only misunderstand Marxism, but human nature to begin with. Technoromanticism will not do us any good. As “L’Internationale”, our centuries-old battle cry that knows no borders exclaims: “there are no supreme saviors, neither god, nor Caesar, nor tribune.” Technological advances are no different; comrades, only with your two hands, united with all of the rest of humanity and guided by revolutionary theory, can communism be constructed and glorify the human race. Unless you plan to get in the way of the wheels of progress, it’s crucial to rid your mind of the idealism and intellectual laziness of cybernetic planning.
As this document comes to an end, I’d like to emphasize one idea: your group’s understanding of Proriv, as well as Marxism-Leninism generally, is insufficient. Not much more needs to be said. If you are one of the few people who’ve read this from beginning to end, I thank you. If the spirit of your group is truly to educate, then the question on how to form the party and the development of a communist conscience is a critical question to answer. This time, I hope you refrain from mockery when you have an inadequate understanding of Marxism and your ideological opponents… it’s unbecoming of a communist. It’s better to try to read a pile of cow shit than to read the words of an economist. At least the former won’t make you into an opportunist! An arrogant opportunist that doesn’t know the damage they cause is the worst and most dangerous opportunist. Read the classics and critique correctly.